Published 1953 Random House
The story opens with Peter T. Hooper casually leaning on a kitchen counter talking to a young girl named Liz, with her cat looking on. Peter T. Hooper claims that he is trying not to brag, but wants to let Liz know that he is, in fact, the best cook there is. He goes into an account of some scrambled eggs he made. He didn’t make them out of plain old hen eggs. Instead, he found some fancy eggs, “like the eggs of a Ruffle-Necked Sala-ma-goox!”
Throughout the story he tells Liz about how he collected more and more eggs from stranger and stranger birds. With all of these unique eggs he made Scrambled eggs Super-dee-Dooper-dee-Booper Special de luxe a-la-Peter T. Hooper!
But even after he collected three hundred and two eggs he still needed more! So, he started enlisting friends to help him retrieve eggs from distant lands, such as eggs from birds that live in Zinzibar-Zanzibar trees. Peter T. Hooper ordered an entire tree full for his special scramble, “hang the expense!”
Finally, he got all the eggs he needed and he broke them into ninety-nine pans. He added beans, ginger, nine prunes and three figs, as well as six cinnamon sticks and a clove and cooked them up.
All of a sudden we’re back in the kitchen with Liz and her cat. Peter T. Hooper gives the resolution of the story by telling Liz that his concoction tasted exactly like Scrambled eggs Super-dee-Dooper-dee, Special de luxe a-la-Peter T. Hooper.
This book is a celebration of sound! It is full of fun words and silly rhymes. This can be said about most of Seuss’s books, but because of the an incident that I write about in the “HISTORY” section Seuss had started to realize just how well children pick up on the sound of words in his books. The sounds are fun and playful which keep children engaged and excited about reading.
Like previous books Seuss used a child’s imagination to tell the story. This book follows a common structure found in many of his children’s books. It begins in the regular world; in a normal kitchen. Then our story teller, Peter T. Hooper, tells his audience, Liz, a story. Liz , as well us we, the audience, are transformed into a new world where the bulk of the story takes place. This place is full of wonderfully made up creatures (designating it as another beastiary book). Then just as the story peaks we are transported back to the real world with an image that mimics the beginning of the story; the kitchen, with Liz.
This structure is used in McElligot’s Pool, as well as, If I Ran the Zoo, and later If I Ran the Circus. It is a structure that children follow well, because it starts simply in a recognizable location and then instantly jumps into a new creative world and then snaps back out into the recognizable real world at the end. Children follow this well because it is the same way a child’s mind works when they play. If they’re in the yard and they grab a stick they are now in a castle with a sword. If they are in their living room and they have a light saber, now they are on the snow planet (as my nephew calls it) fighting a Darth Lord. But when the play is finished, just as quickly as they jumped into the world, they are back out of it, in the yard, or the living room.
The dedication is to LIBBY, ORLO, BRAD and BARRY CHILDS. The Childs’ son recited all of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose from memory while Seuss was visiting their home one day. Seuss was shocked by it, stating, “I don’t write for kids that young.” This incident made him realize how strongly one can communicate with children through writing.
Like the previous book the printing is in Yellow, Blue and Red with Blue and Yellow alternating each pair of facing pages and Red appearing on each page.
This is the first time Seuss uses the word “Grinch” in a children’s book, but the Beatle-Beaked-Bald-Headed Grinch does not much resemble the Grinch in Whoville that despises Christmas (look for a blog about this book during the week of Christmas!)
(This image is from the movie version, but it has the same appearance in the book.)
This is a long one, but it is technically one massive run on sentence so I have to include the whole thing.
“I went for the kind that were mellow and sweet
And the world’s sweetest eggs are the eggs of the Kweet
Which is due to those very sweet trout which they eat
And those trout…well, they’re sweet ’cause they only eat Wogs
And Wogs, after all, are the world’s sweetest frogs
And the reason they’re sweet is, whenever they lunch
It’s always the world’s sweetest bees that they munch
And the reason no bees can be sweeter than these…
They only eat blossoms off Beezlenut Trees
And these Beezlenut Blossoms are sweater than sweat
And that’s why I nabbed several eggs from the Kweet.”
I just get a kick out of the food chain that Seuss lays out as explanation for the sweetness of the eggs.
Thanks for reading,
Jack St. Rebor